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Planning and policing pays off with successful half term

News   •   Jun 02, 2019 20:46 BST

A week of unprecedented demand on Surrey Police and Sussex Police forces has passed successfully, despite a number of large and high profile events across the two counties.

The forces had support from across the country and further afield as officer's leave and days off were cancelled to ensure normal service wasn’t impacted by the week’s events.

The first event was on Bank Holiday Monday with attendance at the Surrey County Show in Guildford where policing teams showcased their skills to thousands of attendees.

On Friday and Saturday, the Derby festival at Epsom Downs Racecourse was attended by Her Majesty the Queen, and more than 36,000 racegoers. Despite number of attendees, only seven arrests were made. Police dogs, search units, public order officers, drones and firearms officers were at the event to keep the public safe.

In Brighton, a sunny Saturday attracted thousands of extra day trippers, on top of the usual weekend visitors. The day passed without serious incident, despite the addition of 30,000 people estimated to have attended the Kemptown Carnival; and 24,000 fans at the Amex Stadium for the Lionesses last game before the Women's Football World Cup.

Saturday also saw the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club (HAMC) Euro Run 2019 take place. This was a ride-out of club members from Pease Pottage to Brighton. It was part of the HAMC's 50th anniversary celebrations of being in the UK and involved approximately 3,000 members from all over the world staying on the Surrey and Sussex borders for a separate private event.

There was also the small matter of two all-English European Cup football finals, bringing fans out to pubs and clubs without any notable incidents.

Assistant Chief Constable Nev Kemp said:

“This has been a hugely busy week for both forces and I’m incredibly proud of the efforts I’ve seen from all involved. Many months of planning and hard work have gone into making all of these events run as smoothly as possible.

“Public safety has been our main priority and we have had to put in place highly visible tactics this week which has significantly reduced the risk to the wider public and those wanting to enjoy themselves at all these events.”

From Wednesday (May 29) an order under Section 60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 was introduced, allowing stop and search of individuals within a designated area of Surrey and Sussex, following information that some attending the HAMC event may be carrying offensive weapons. In total 49 people have been arrested in connection with the event with a number having already been sentenced at court.

ACC Kemp added:

“We made great efforts to work with the event organiser beforehand to ensure those attending got the message about what was expected here, sadly some didn’t heed the warning. However our approach, as well as some self-breath testing by riders ahead of the main ride on Saturday, significantly reduced numbers riding to Brighton. We had initially expected 700, but just over 100 took part.

“This was a unique event that has never happened on anything like this scale in the UK before and required careful planning to ensure the public and those attending were safe and, following information we received as the week went on, I decided to put the Section 60 order in place.”

The operation has involved partners from across law enforcement agencies both in the UK and abroad.

ACC Kemp continued:

“We benefited from the knowledge shared by our international colleagues about the attendees from their countries, and the risks that they posed. We were also able to prevent 27 people from even entering the UK. All of those refused entry were international members of the Hell Angels and deemed to pose a risk to the public with previous convictions for serious violent crimes including; murder, kidnap, torture, drug supply, violent assaults and firearms offences. Hells Angels events have not routinely passed without very serious incidents when they have taken place in other countries and a measure of success for us is ensuring that it passed without serious incident here in the UK. Europol have been very complimentary about the UK policing operation.

"The fact that all of these different events across involving thousands of people have passed without serious incident is something that we can be very pleased with. They required significant resourcing, planning and professionalism from police officers and staff because of the varied risks involved and I would like to thank everyone for the work they have put in this week."